With the Local Government members entitlement (LG) Rules and Regulation 2018 now in place, the LG members are entitled to benefits similar to that of civil servants.

The new rules and regulations specify the entitlements of the members of the LG, finance, obligations and other relevant issues in relation to and within the framework of the LG Members Entitlement Act of Bhutan 2015.

Tsirang dzongkhag sought clarification from Department of Local Government (DLG) on leave entitlement of members last year.

The rules state that a member is entitled to 10 working days casual leave, shall earn 2.5 days earned leave for every completed month of service, six months paid maternity and 10 days paternity leave.

LG members are also entitled to paid medical leave up to three months. Members availing medical leave for more than three months will be eligible for just basic pay.  “And medical leave exceeding six months requires a recommendation of a medical board appointed by the health ministry,” it stated.

In an earlier interview, Tsirang’s dzongkhag tshogdu secretary Sonam Phuntsho said that in absence of the rules and regulations, to maintain a record, a personal file of the LG members was maintained.  “Keeping a personal file of LG members is a new system initiated here,” he said.

According to the rules and regulation launched on February 1, a member is entitled to provident fund if he or she has served for a minimum of one year.

It states that on completion of their term, they are entitled to gratuity calculated at the rate of last monthly salary drawn multiplied by the number of years served on the production of an audit clearance certificate.

However, members are not eligible for gratuity should they retire before completion of their term or if terminated. Members of the LG are also entitled to group insurance scheme (GIS).

The rule mentions that the gewog administration shall be entitled to an annual entertainment budget, at the rate prescribed in the delegation of financial power of the financial rules and regulations.

The rules and regulations mention that it is subject to change from time to time on a need basis.

Nirmala Pokhrel